Joe Paterno coached Penn State’s football program for 45 years, amassing 409 wins, 37 Bowl appearances, three Big Ten titles, and two National Championships. That said, questions about the long-time coach’s role in the infamous Jerry Sandusky sex scandal have since tarnished what once seemed a rock-solid legacy. Paterno died in January of 2012, shortly after he resigned as head coach of the Nittany Lions, and — while many in the Penn State community continued to support him until the end — the public at large was less forgiving.
Call it a cautionary tale, a parable about misplaced priorities, or just a sports story, but the story of Paterno’s rise and fall was closely watched by folks both inside and outside of the football world. In fact, it generated so much interes, that HBO Films is currently filming an untitled biopic about the legendary coach, and we just got our first look at the legendary actor that is portraying him.
As reported by ComingSoon, we got our first look at Al Pacino as Joe Paterno earlier today and the actor looks completely unrecognizable. The side-by-side comparisons of the two men are uncanny and it’s a reminder of the magic that costume and makeup departments can work and their importance in bringing stories to the screen.
The photo shows Pacino donning Paterno’s characteristic thick-rimmed specs, along with a PSU windbreaker slipped over a white shirt/navy blue tie combo. It’s a look that will be familiar to college football fans, many of whom saw it hundreds of times in the nearly 50 years that Paterno patrolled the sidelines.
Barry Levinson — who directed the much-talked-about Bernie Madoff biopic Wizard of Lies — is helming the film and he and Pacino also paired for the 2010 Jack Kevorkian biopic You Don’t Know Jack, which was also produced by HBO.
Formerly entitled Happy Valley, the film also stars Annie Parisse, Kathy Baker, and Greg Grunberg, among others. The film will be released on HBO in 2018 and will not receive a theatrical engagement. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated as more information on the project becomes available.
Those looking for more Pacino will be able to catch the actor as Jimmy Hoffa in the upcoming, Scorsese-directed The Irishman some time next year.
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